Leftridge: Requiem for a Wiener

NYDPAccording to a bleak, depressing post on the official Facebook page, New York Dawg Pound closed for permanent on October 27th, in the year 2015.

RIP, New York Dawg Pound, I loved your hot dogs.

Despite its terrible name, the NYDP was the best thing about a sad stretch of Shawnee Mission Parkway, and really, the best hot dog-centric restaurant in the greater metro. (I know there isn’t much to be said for competition, exactly, but that wasn’t their fault; consider it the shortcoming of a society gone mad with fear of processed meats, and the ill-health effects they may usher.)

I, like thousands of others, discovered NYDP through Yelp, the probably-horrible user-food review site that purportedly boosts the rankings of restaurants who choose to advertise versus those who do not. Regardless of pretense, I took their 135 reviews with a 4-star average and made a visit.

See, I lived in Chicago during the heyday of Hot Doug’s, the “sausage superstore” or “encased meat emporium.Doug Sohn, founder, closed his immensely popular hot dog stand LAST October, citing a desire to “do something different with his life.” His was the decision of a mad-genius who likely made millions off of “hot dogs.” (And actually continues to make money via a contract that has his brand slinging sausage at Wrigley.)

And now, this.

NYDP2While NYDP was no Hot Doug’s—nothing is, what with Doug’s Foie Gras and Sauternes Duck Sausage with Truffle Aioli, Foie Gras Mousse and Fleur de Sel, or their Mozzarella, tomato and pepper pork sausage with sriracha dijonnaise, cheese medley and bacon lardoons—it occupied a necessary, pork-less hole in Kansas City cuisine.

On more than one occasion, I indulged at NYDP in a Nathan’s Famous topped with chili, mustard, onions and cheese, or one topped with bacon, cheese and a fried egg. (They all had dog related names, which was lame, but whatever… they were fucking great.) Add a side of overly-seasoned, OK-Joe’s style fries, and you were in for a sodium-laden nightmare that required gallons of water shortly thereafter… and the next day, even.

And it was beautiful.

And affordable, too. While Doug’s dogs typically pushed northward of $8 USD—and you’d want two for the experience, and a side of duck-fat fries—NYDP never ran you more than $4 or $5 a piece. Costly, sure, but for what you were experiencing, a bargain.

The requisite snap of the casing. The overt gooiness of most of the toppings. The warm embrace of the pillowy bread. New York Dawg Pound was a fat mother’s hug on a chilly winter day, a salty explosion of comfort typically reserved for a bowl of your aunt’s best beef stew.

But it was greasy.

Not just the dogs—because that’s a given—but the whole enterprise. You walked in and basically slid toward the counter, your shoes suddenly skates on a tundra of freshly cooked lard. The walls were caked with oil, leaving you reticent to touch anything, save your food.

And maybe that’s what did it in.

Because if a place is that bad where you can see it, in all likelihood, it’s a nightmare of filth behind the scenes.

And in November of 2014, NYDP suffered several critical violations of the Johnson County Health Code. (Mostly due to products stored and served at unsavory temperatures.) Per county regulation, they were given 10 days to atone for their sins. And it seems likely they did, as they operated for several months thereafter.

But our fixation on public health is an ongoing one, not something to be met and conquered occasionally and forgotten.

(I guess what I’m saying is that they probably had another inspection after November of last year.)

Honestly, I have no idea what happened. Perhaps another critical inspection (yet un-posted) to the Kansas Department of Agriculture’s website will explain their doom.

Maybe the proprietor just saw fit to slip out while the slipping was good.

In any case, they closed.

NYDP3I am left with a hot dog shaped hole in my heart, which actually may not be inherently bad (I mean, I guess the hole is less frightening than what I’d stuff it with), but I’ll be damned if I won’t miss their dogs.

You were a terrific hot dog place in a land void of tubular meat options. We are better for having known you, but of a lesser sort for your departure.

Goodnight, sweet prince.

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27 Responses to Leftridge: Requiem for a Wiener

  1. the dude says:

    Sonic Coney with tots to the rescue!!

  2. miket. says:

    greasy floors and walls… i assume the air was laden with it as well… would discourage a lot of customers from returning. maybe they could have tried a promotion to encourage repeat customers? something like, “Buy 3 Fully Loaded Nathan’s, Get a FREE Tyvek suit and gloves on your next visit!”

    But there are two more important things missing i think:
    1. No signage. A non-descript building on a very busy major thoroughfare with no signage to scream at motorists and attract some attention is death itself. And,
    2. Pretty sure if they couldn’t afford a decent sign, they couldn’t afford any advertising, which will also kill you.

    what about “buzz?” maybe they could have taken several dozen regular ol’ hotdogs and condiments down the street to Entercom and let the djs and sales wonks have at ’em? be a start anyway…

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Interesting thought on point one– I think you’re totally right– but, with regard to the second point, I *feel* like they were doing OK with their little-or-no advertising. It was packed any time I’d gone, even in seemingly off-peak hours. That said, I’m sure it wouldn’t have HURT to have SOME sort of advertising presence.

  3. HARLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    they were packed for lunchs. Great dogs but it was a little greasy and
    But if you think that place was nasty…never go behind/inside a Chinese restaurant…
    kitchen. they’ll make dog pound look spic and span.

  4. chuck says:

    Funny stuff Lefty.

    Try the “Pizza Man” at 103rd and Pflum. Killer Chicago dogs and the best Italian Beef sandwich I have ever eaten.

    I was watching a program (Now canceled .) called “Check Please”. I loved that show. Local folks pick three restaurants to try and then after all three of them eat at all three of the restaurants, they review them on TV.

    “Pizza Man” was up against some very, very tony establishments, but the ONLY thing anyone who was on the show wanted to talk about was the Chicago Dogs and Italian Beef sammies at “Pizza Man”. Holy sh*t is it good.

    Weird place, the dude is from Chicago, worn out, dated posters of Michael Jordon (Yech!) the Bears, rickety tables, funky lay out looks like they threw it together yesterday, who cares!?!?

    Killer dogs.


    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      I’m familiar with The Pizza Man, but I’ve never eaten there. And yes, I’ve heard they serve a really great Chicago dog. I definitely need to check it out.

      And Check Please was fantastic. It was a big deal when I lived in Chicago, and I was hoping it’d catch on here. Never really did, unfortunately.

    • homer says:

      We love Pizza Man and so glad it survived the road construction. Original owner has sold to someone else but thankfully they’ve maintained the quality.
      Always enjoyed Check, Please, too.

      Our last dogs at NYDP were awful. Not surprised at closure.

  5. Kerouac says:

    “See, I lived in Chicago during the heyday of Hot Doug’s”

    – Kerouac recalls the formerly cutting-edge fine now mere reeking smell bovine jazz/rock group ‘Chicago’ used to swear by a place in that same city called ‘Demon Dogs’ . Believe it is now closed, but, if you ever partook said, any review thumbs up or down, BL?

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Never had a chance to try it, but people loved it. I think it got pushed out by Brown Line reconstruction, which is a shame. There were a lot of cool little spots right outside stations once upon a time.

  6. Newbaumturk says:

    I went there after the Royals parade and was surprised to see it closed. I wonder if they took a bath at their oak park mall location and it sunk them all together? Too bad I liked the place. Second the Pizza Man. They’ve made that odd location last for what, 20 years now? I hear Coney Island on 77th & Quivira is good but have not been.

  7. Rainbow Man says:

    The Quik Trip hot dog is the best in KC and everyone knows it.

    • chuck says:

      They are not bad.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Their taquitos are pretty terrific, too. I still haven’t gotten over the fact that they did away with most of their “Hotzi” microwave sandwich line, though. Teriyaki chicken w/ provolone cheese on an onion bagel was bizarrely amazing, as was the chicken, ham & swiss on an onion bun. I wonder how many years I shaved off of my life eating those things.

    • Worldwide says:

      And the price is right too….

  8. HARLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! says:

    Hebrew National dogs reign!

  9. homer says:

    And then there’s always Casey’s pizza.

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